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What is CPD – and why is it important for your business?

2-minute read

Businessman presenting to team
Catriona Smith

Catriona Smith

28 March 2022

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Continuing professional development (CPD) is a way for professionals to keep learning about their job, develop new skills, and stay up to date with industry trends.

If you’re an employer, continuing professional development can keep your staff engaged and make sure they’re meeting quality and regulatory standards. While for an employee or self-employed person, it’s a chance to up-skill or fill gaps in your knowledge.

Here we’ll explain the importance of continuing professional development and how it can help you and your business thrive.

Why is CPD important?

CPD is important in any industry, whether you’re a small business owner, self-employed, or a bigger business looking to grow.

First, let’s explain why continuing professional development is important for employers:

  • creates a culture where employees are engaged and happy at work (so they’ll be less likely to leave)
  • keeps staff up to date with legal and regulatory requirements
  • fills knowledge gaps in your team
  • maintains high standards of quality and innovation

As for the benefits of continuing professional development for employees, these include:

  • keeping skills up to date
  • supporting career progression
  • maintaining membership to industry bodies
  • feeling a sense of purpose and achievement at work

Here’s a continuing professional development example…

A restaurant owner needs to follow a range of legal and regulatory requirements. From understanding major food allergens and health and safety for hospitality businesses to providing good customer service.

Example continuing professional development courses for restaurants include:

  • Allergen Awareness
  • L2 in Cleaning in Food Premises
  • Communication skills
  • Nutrition for children

What is CPD training?

CPD training can be done online or in-person through a range of methods:

  • workshops
  • courses
  • conferences
  • e-learning
  • learning on the job

While the above examples are more formal methods of CPD training, it’s also possible to continue learning by reflecting on news articles or reading books by industry experts.

Continuous learning is particularly important if you’re registered with a regulatory body as you’ll often need to complete specific training to keep your membership.

If you work in industries like health and social care, engineering, hospitality, or construction, for example, it’s likely that you and your staff need to regularly demonstrate continuing professional development.

Another example is if you’re a yoga teacher and registered to an industry body like Yoga Alliance; you’ll need to complete a set number of continuing education hours to maintain your registration status.

Woman doing training online from home

How to create a training and development plan

If you’re an employer, chances are you regularly hold appraisals with your staff to help keep them on track and manage their performance. These meetings are also an opportunity to discuss any training and development opportunities.

You might also have annual courses that everyone in the business needs to complete, for example health and safety training or compliance modules.

A training and development plan should consider things like:

  • business goals – what skills do you need within your team to help grow your business?
  • personal development goals – where do your employees want to improve on an individual and personal level? This could be practising public speaking or working on a specific project
  • on-the-job learning – lots of continuous learning happens simply through doing a job every day
  • specific training courses – think about external courses that build knowledge and gaps in your team

Now you’ll need to write down the key steps you (or your staff) plan to take to continue learning, noting any specific courses along with dates they’ll be completed. It’s a good idea to regularly review how this action plan is going, and evolve it over time if you need to.

It can also be helpful to break your CPD plan down into the following sections:

  • active learning – courses, workshops, conferences
  • passive learning – reading industry news or listening to podcasts
  • unstructured learning – reading publications, trade magazines, and industry books

Find a CPD-accredited course

The CPD Certification Service lists approved CPD courses by industry, from engineering and IT to construction and education. You should also check directly with the regulatory body for your sector to stay on top of required education and training.

Read our guide to legal regulations for small businesses to make sure you’ve not forgotten anything important. And download our HR toolkit to help you create the right policies and processes for your business.

Do you encourage continuing professional development in your business? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Catriona Smith

Written by

Catriona Smith

Catriona Smith is a content and marketing professional with 12 years’ experience across the financial services, higher education, and insurance sectors. She’s also a trained NCTJ Gold Standard journalist. As a Senior Copywriter at Simply Business, Catriona has in-depth knowledge of small business concerns and specialises in tax, marketing, and business operations. Catriona lives in the seaside city of Brighton where she’s also a freelance yoga teacher.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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